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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30308
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Westie with apparent allergies. Underbelly hyperpigmented

Customer Question

Westie with apparent allergies. Underbelly hyperpigmented and losing hair on legs. Had maleezia from the scratching and biting. Got the yeast under control but she is miserable with the itching. Has had to cortosteriod shots in the past 3 months and can't have anymore . Need help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Skye. Yes, Westies are over-represented with atopy - allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc. Secondary bacterial and yeast infections are common. When systemic glucocorticoids aren't possible due to adverse effects you have two other choices. The first is cyclosporin (Atopica) - another immunosupressive drug. The second is the new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) which has worked as well as a steroid without the steroid's adverse effects. Oclacitinib would be my choice for Skye because it was originally designed for atopic dogs.

You also have the option of allergy testing and desensitizing allergy shots. Desensitization has been effective in up to 75% of atopic dogs. Clinical improvement is usually noted within 3-5 months of initiation of immunotherapy but it can take up to a year in some dogs and until it became effective, Skye would need cyclosporin or oclacitinib. Be sure to rigorously address any secondary pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) and Malassezia dermatitis. Bathing every 3-7 days in a shampoo containing chlorhexidine and ketoconazole/miconazole, an integrated flea control program to prevent flea bites from aggravating the pruritis (itchiness), topical therapy with anti-itch conditioners and sprays (those containing oatmeal, pramoxine, antihistamines, or glucocorticoids) appied every 2-7 days, and oral essential fatty acid supplements will synergize to provide Skye with relief from her pruritis.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Skye. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin